When I started using it, I hated Family Tree Maker 2012.
I’m one who is very uncomfortable with change, especially if that change leaves me in an unfamiliar environment where I don’t know what to do or how to get around. I’m left feeling very frustrated and vulnerable – as was the case for the first little while with this software.
Initially, all I noticed were the glitches.
For whatever reason, when I initially installed this software, the web clip feature would not work. After several frustrated attempts, I counted to ’10′, and starting researching the issue online. There I found that others had experience the same issue and resolved it by uninstalling FTM 2012, installing an earlier version or FTM (I used FTM 9), uninstalling the new version and then reinstalling FTM 2012. I have no idea why this would be necessary, but it worked – sort of. Unfortunately, only the data clipping feature works. The web clipping feature for clipping images does not work to this day and I’m still trying to rectify that. If anyone knows the answer, I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me, PLEASE??
The interface is very different from that of RootsMagic and I had a hard time figuring out what to do. Each task I performed took substantially longer than it would have in RootsMagic because I had to use the help feature and/or the internet to learn how to do it in FTM 2012.
The basic functions of FTM 2012 are comparable to RootsMagic, but with a much more advanced interface. This can have its drawbacks, however, as I had to upgrade and buy a new computer as my old one could not run the software effectively, even though the specifications say it should have. I must say I love it on my new laptop. It was about time I upgraded, but I would have preferred to not spend the money at this time. Although the software runs well now, it frequently shuts down spontaneously. I found this rather alarming and disconcerting, but I always follow the advice upon reopening and compact the file (>Tools >Compact File), being sure to back up the software every time.
I’m not fussy about the media handling capabilities of FTM 2012 if the option of copying to the software’s own data folder is used. It seems to make multiple copies of the same file, sometimes making finding media to relink to other persons or facts very difficult. I have therefore started linking to media directly from my own genealogy media library and I’m much happier with the result.
All of this aside though, the sole reason I am staying with this software despite these very frustrating glitches is how the interface is built around a browser window in the center. It’s possible to switch between the browser window and the main ‘Person’ or ‘Family’ windows without losing my place or losing track of what I am doing. This makes it easy to compare more detailed data between ‘hints’ produced by the software and the persons already existing in my data file. With RootsMagic, it was very difficult to compare data. This was a real detriment when working with individuals in my database who did not have much information available to make a definite match with a hint. It would be all too easy to make a mistake – matching the wrong people. With FTM 2012′s browser interface, the ‘hints’ appear in a list and it’s easy to click on each link and compare the data in each hint all at once.
Let’s say I have an individual in my database for whom I have only the first name and birth date and their spouse’s name. In these cases, the information is so generic that numerous ‘hints’ can be produced. At first this looks discouraging but it’s actually a huge help. One can switch between hints in the list and compare to the data in my own database. Perhaps there’s an individual with the same name but a slightly different birth date and showing the names of both parents. Although it’s tempting to decide they’re one and the same person, there isn’t enough information to make the definite match. However, the next hint could show the individual’s name, the parents’ names and the spouse’s name. If the name of the spouse in the original data and that in the second hint open are the same, one can assume that the parents showing in the hint are the same parents if they match. With this comparison, it would be clear that all three hints refer to the same family and the data from the hints can be merged into the original database. Performing these same data comparisons in RootsMagic was very annoying and time consuming as I had to have multiple browser windows open and switch between windows, and without the benefit of the hints. I had to find my own hints, which could also be very time consuming and frustrating.
The final issue that convinced me to work with Family Tree Maker 2012 was the ability to use it on both my Windows laptop and Mac desktop. The process of converting the file is a bit ‘clunky’, but at least it’s possible – which it isn’t with RootsMagic. It’s a shame that after about ten years of using RootsMagic and numerous comments and requests that they come up with a Mac version, I had no choice but to switch. I’m not the only one who has been making this request. There are numerous entries in forums, blog posts and RootsMagic’s own forum requesting the same, only to be told to set up a virtual Windows environment on our Macs. I did so, trying every version of virtual Windows environment software available at great expense and frustration, never finding one that was ideal. The virtual desktop software are also not ‘user friendly’. If I hadn’t had a more advanced knowledge of my computers and software, I wouldn’t have had a hope of understanding it.
I look forward to the next updates where the issues I’ve mentioned above will hopefully be rectified. Once that happens, I will be 100% happy with this software.